A case presented by researchers in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, stated that intermittent fasting (they called it SER, short for intermittent severe energy reduction) could be a useful way to reduce energy intake; thereby, controlling an individual’s body weight. The team came to this discovery after studying the effects of a 24-hour SER in a person’s appetite, metabolism, and energy intake.

The concept of SER – or intermittent fasting, for that matter – isn’t a new or novel idea: People have done it for health, spiritual, or even cosmetic reasons since the beginning of time, and historical figures from Hippocrates to Benjamin Franklin were proponents of it.

However, a lot has changed in modern times: For instance, how processed food, added sugars, and trans fats are now ubiquitous – leading to an uptick in obesity cases around the world.

This rise carries disastrous consequences. Obesity not only raises the likelihood of developing chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), it also represents a significant economic burden. Thus, researchers are now looking for ways to mitigate the ever-increasing rates of obesity.

Eighteen men and women participated in the study. On the first day, they were randomly assigned to either have a standardized diet, which had 100 percent of the daily energy requirement, or an energy-restricted diet, with only 25 percent of the required intake. The second day had participants eat a standardized breakfast and an ad libitum lunch, with researchers studying their appetite regulation and resting metabolism all throughout. Finally, their ad libitum energy intake was measured on the third day at breakfast and by weighed food records.

Based on the results, the participants displayed increased subjective appetite and energy intake during SER; however, appetite hormones did not respond in a manner indicating extreme hunger. “Therefore, an acute period of SER may assist with energy-balance management in lean men and women,” the researchers concluded. “Future studies should aim to examine the chronic effects of intermittent SER on appetite regulation.”

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